Quotes Following Tulane Football's 20-17 Overtime Loss At Army



Oct. 6, 2007

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Army 20, Tulane 17
Tulane Game 5
Michie Stadium
West Point, N.Y.



On his thoughts following the game
"Well, I've been in some tough ones but that's a pretty tough one to lose. I mean, you play well enough to win the football game yet you make so many mistakes, penalty wise and you miss two field goals and you end up losing the game. We gave up a big play there in the end on a Hail Mary. They outplayed us. They outcoached us, and they just played better than we did."

On if it seemed like Tulane did everything to win the game
"We did everything except the penalties. Obviously we made some stupid penalties, and then we couldn't make a first down and then they go down and score."

On the field goal attempt penalty
"They said you can't put a marker down to kick a field goal. He put what was actually a tiny piece of paper down, and they said you can't do that. I've been coaching 40 years and I've never seen that call."

On if the mistakes just stack up against Tulane at the end there
"Yeah, they all added up to us losing. We made too many mistakes to win the football game."

On the performance of Matt Forté
"It was a good effort. He fumbled the one time, which was disappointing, but he did a super job."

On what Tulane has to work on to improve
"We've got to throw the ball better. We're not throwing the ball downfield enough, and we can't get it to our wide receivers. That's a concern."

On how does Tulane responds after a loss like this
"Like I told them, it's still a non-league game. It doesn't affect standings. It's a very disappointing loss but it's not a loss that cost us anything league-standing wise, so now we've got to go compete in the conference. Well, we have to come back and fight. We'll see what kind of character we have. We have to come back and respond to this loss."


On how he feels after a loss like this
"(You feel) disappointed, mad, angry at the whole world. To lose a game like that in the fourth quarter, that's on us as an offense, defense and special teams unit. That's on us as a whole team."

On failing to convert on third-and-inches in overtime
"We got stuffed. We got outworked, and that's something we have to work on this week at practice."

On the play of Army's defense
"They play hard. They play hard every year and they never give up. That's one thing you know about Army is that they never give up."

On how Tulane bounces back from this loss
"It's not going to be very hard because we're going to be angry. For something like this to happen, that ticks you off, and we're going to go out there at practice and work even harder to come out next week and beat up on somebody."


On the Hail Mary at the end of regulation
"I got a hand on it. I was just trying to tip it back out of the end zone and somehow it got deflected and they say he got his feet inbounds."

On if there were any thoughts of an interception on that Hail Mary
"We were trying to bat the ball down. We weren't trying to catch it or anything, just bat it down and kill the game right there. Things like that are not supposed to happen. The ball just bounced their way and not ours."

On Mike Wright's diving touchdown reception
"He made a great catch. He got his feet in bounds, supposedly."

On the defense's overall performance against Army
"We held them off but we still gave up too many points at the end of the second half. We just have to go back to practice and just try harder next week."



Overall thoughts on the game
"I really think that Kevin Dunn came in and did a really great job. We had players step up and make plays. When you walk on the field, all you are looking for is the opportunity to win the football game. The kids hung in there and made some plays and got it to the point where we did have the opportunity to win the game.

"It was an ugly football game. Offensively, it was not real good. We gave up a lot of sacks and put ourselves in bad situations. We didn't do a very good job taking advantage of turnovers. But, getting away from all the negatives and looking at the positives, the kids never quit. They hung in there and kept fighting. They believed they could win the football game there at the end.

"Kevin Dunn came in and made some great plays. Mike Wright made a great play. Everyone took turns making plays. "It's not coaching. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Players win games. They always have and they always will."

On having confidence in Kevin Dunn
"I think Kevin is very competitive. He does it in practice and he is very confident in what he does. It was no big coaching decision. It wasn't like I made any decision that Carson (Williams) wasn't getting the job done. It was the trainers telling me that Carson was injured and wouldn't be able to re-enter the game. Kevin was the next one in line. We went out and ran a couple of option plays just to get him some snaps under live fire. He took it from there. He made some plays, running and passing. I think he only had one incompletion that he threw out of bounds. He made things happen. He believed in himself and made it happen. He got out there and moved around and took some of the pressure off the offensive line."

On Mike Wright's touchdown at the end of regulation
"He was in the right place and he made the play. It is concentration and believing. You see these plays all the time. If Mike didn't believe he would have had the opportunity to make that play, he could have jogged down the field, or been a pace off, or not concentrated. That was total concentration for the whole play."

On the resiliency of the team
"These kids work so hard. I am just so proud of them. They could have folded their tents and called it a game and thought that we had no chance at winning. They didn't think that. They just kept fighting. We will take a little credit for that as coaches. We work on that all the way through practice and create those kinds of habits. The kids went out and made that happen. I am very proud of them and the United States Military Academy and the whole Corps of Cadets."

On stopping Tulane on third down in overtime
"That was just the defense getting fired up and getting after it. They went into the huddle and said we have to stop them. This is our opportunity to win. Anything that happened before the overtime doesn't matter. They went out there and made the play. (Tulane running back Matt Forte) is their go-to guy and the defense knew he was going to get the ball. The defense stepped up and stopped him. He had over 200 yards rushing, but the defense stopped him on the play that counted."


On his thoughts following the game
"Nothing is going through my mind right now. I pretty much have a blank stare going on right now because I wasn't even expecting to be getting into the game in the first place. They always say be ready to go on the next play because you never know and that's what happened this game. I went in and did what I could, and we came out with a victory."

On his mindset coming into the game
"During the game Carson hurt his index finger. He hit it on a helmet on one of the first bootlegs so I started warming up because they weren't sure if it was broken or what. It ended up being absolutely fine. Later on, he got hit in the funny bone and his arm went numb. They weren't sure about that so I started warming up there. Then he got hit in the head and was a little shaken up. They could see that he wasn't all there so the next thing I know, someone said, `Kev, start warming up.' I started warming up again thinking it was the same old drill, but then they told me to start taking snaps so I thought, `Well, I guess I'm in.'"

On the first scoring drive that cut the lead to 17-10
"It was good to have good field position. Jeremy's (Trimble) return helped out a lot. Running the option, I guess between David, Carson and myself, I would be the one that's more the option quarterback. We run it a lot (in practice), and it's been put in since day one, but it's really not Carson or Dave's specialty. They're awfully good in other areas. For me, it's the one thing they felt confident it was the one thing I would be comfortable starting off with."

On taking the field for the final drive in regulation
"You just say a quiet prayer and hope for the best. I've been practicing the game since I don't even remember. You basically just play the game. They're people watching, but it's still the same game so you just go out there like you've practiced. I give a lot of credit to the coaches. It shows how well the coaches keep everyone mentally ready."

On his memory of the huddle before the final play of regulation
"I remember calling the play wrong. We knew what the play was, but I was really nervous. I remember Mike Lemming turning around and asking me, `Hey, what do we block?' I said, `I don't know. Just block it.' I put the ball up and Mike Wright made an immaculate reception."

On his confidence in winning the game when it went to overtime
"We're pretty consistent in winning the overtime battle. When you get into overtime, that's when Army really stands out. That's just Army - never say die, never quit. This whole team is pretty confident, especially with our defense being able to finish them off. We did the same thing against Rhode Island."

On the process of getting inserted into the game
"I'd warmed up a couple of times during the game. The coaches told me to take some snaps. I thought, `Wow, that's new,' but I still didn't expect to go in. The next thing I know they asked me if I was ready. People started talking to me and telling me to calm down, but I wasn't hyped up to the point I needed to be calmed down because I thought it was just a drill."

On running his first two-minute drill
"It was my first two-minute drill at Army, but during practice you take mental reps. You stand behind everybody, but you watch practice. I usually stand there with Pat McDonald, and he always asks, `Kev, what would you do if you were in?' I sit back with him and say, `Okay, we're going trips right or double right,' and go through my head what I would do if I was in the game. Those mental reps really helped me out when I was out there."

On the play of Tulane's defensive line
"I knew they were going to be coming for me, and I knew that they knew that I wasn't in the game before. They saw fresh blood and decided they wanted to bring the house and try and sack me, which they were successful on. I went in there, and yeah they were after me, but it's the same game. You just go out there and do what you have to do."

On who the Hail Mary was designed to go to
"We had three receivers on the right side in a bunch formation and they just run up the field. I was throwing to a cluster. That's basically it. You throw it up there and hope it gets batted up in the air and somebody comes down with it. I rolled out to the right even though there really wasn't much pressure because I wanted to get as clear of a throw as possible. I just put it up in the air."

On if he'd ever thrown a touchdown like that before
"Oddly enough, yes. In high school, I was the starting quarterback my junior year and I started the first two games. The coach decided to use another player because he wanted to run the option. It was a similar situation. He went down with a concussion, and I drove about 80 yards. We went down the field, and I think it was 4th-and-20. I rolled out to the left, threw it up and we won the game."


On the touchdown catch on the final play of regulation
"All the other receivers started running on the field as we changed personnel. I think everyone knew what the play was before he called it because we've run it so many times in practice. I think the play call was mumbled a little bit, but everybody still knew what to do. I just ran as fast as I could to the end zone. Everybody else jumped in the air, and I saw the ball batted. It just fell into my hands. In practice we run it, and it never works, but in the game it happened to work."

On whether he knew he got his foot inbounds on the catch
"I really didn't know. I was so excited, and when I came to the bench everyone was asking, `Did you get your feet in?' I said, `I don't know.' I wasn't sure. I knew I caught the ball, but I wasn't sure about my feet."

On his mindset when they took the field for the final drive in regulation
"When you go in and Kevin Dunn is playing quarterback, whether it's the first or fourth progression of the quarterback's read, you better look alive. You have to be ready to get the ball. I was confident, but I really didn't know what the outcome was going to be."

On what winning this game means to the Army team
"3-3 and undefeated at home is right where we want to be right now. It's definitely a confidence booster going into Central Michigan next week. It's a boost for the season. We still have the 24-hour rule though so after tomorrow we'll forget about it and move on to Central Michigan."

On catching the batted pass
"That's the way the play is supposed to work unless someone else jumps up and catches it. The ball could have been batted any kind of way - forward, backwards or out of bounds - but it just happened to come in my direction."

On his feeling after making the catch
"It felt great. I was pretty happy at the time, but I was still kind of nervous because we still had to kick the extra point and go into overtime. I was confident though."


On his touchdown catch in the first half
"We had me over top on a corner route, and I never get the ball on that. It never opens up like that. I made a move on the safety that was on top of me, and the corner bit on Mike Wright on the outside. It was wide open and Carson hit me. I think it set the tone for us offensively, but we didn't play as well as we wanted to."

On how he celebrated when Tulane missed the field goal in overtime
"Mike (Wright) and I were actually right next to each other. I think we were arguing. I thought the defense was going to stop them, and he thought we'd go another round. The first person I hugged was probably Mike, and then I ran over to the corps to celebrate with them. They've been behind us the whole time. They believed we could win, and we really took that to heart."

On what winning this game means to the Army team
"This is a big win for us, but coach putting in the 24-hour rule has really helped us. After tomorrow, we'll put this one away. As captains, Caleb, Mike, Tony and myself will remind the team that we were in the same spot last year at 3-3, and you know what happened last year. We're going to try and change that. We're going to stress taking it one game at a time."


On his field goal in overtime
"I actually felt a lot more pressure on the 36-yard field goal that made it 17-10 because I realized that if I missed it, we didn't have a shot at all. There was a lot more pressure on that, but we had a good snap, a good hold and everything went fine. Once Mike made that catch in the end zone, I was ecstatic like everyone else. In the overtime, on 3rd-and-long we were looking at about a 42-yard field goal, but Kevin (Dunn) made a great run to set us up for an easy field goal. I felt good going into it. I felt confident. Once again, the protection was great. The one to win wasn't as pressure packed as the 36-yarder."

On kicking from the left hash
"I actually prefer kicking from the left hash. The right hash for a right-hander is actually a lot harder because the tendency is to push the ball instead of pulling it despite the one I missed where I pulled it. Set up at the 25 on the left hash, that's a pretty easy kick."